CREVE COEUR, Mo – In the Spirit of the Holidays, The Spirit of Giving, The Spirit of St. Louis, our Pick Your Charity - Pick Your Car campaign, KPLR 11 is teaming up with three charities for this holiday season; Alzheimer’s Association, Marygrove, and Heatupstlouis.org.
Fox 2 and KPLR 11 stood outside West Oak Dierbergs collecting donations for the campaign and raised over $4,500 for all three charities.
Susie Fandos is a volunteer and advocate for Alzheimer's Association and shares how the organization affected her life.
For every $10 you donate to one or all of our charities, you will be entered to win a 2018 Mazda 6, or a GMC Canyon or a Honda CRV, courtesy of Bommarito Automotive Group.
If you missed us on Thursday, you can donate online to enter. Click here to learn more about how you can support the Spirit of St. Louis.
In St. Moritz she beat Swiss Lara Gut-Behramhi by 0.28 seconds and came from behind halfway down the final run to edge Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova by 0.11 seconds in the parallel slalom, in which racers compete head-to-head on adjacent courses.
“I saw the look in her eyes before the final at the start and I was thinking, ‘oh, she really wants to beat me, OK, I really have to bring my intensity higher now,'” she told reporters in Switzerland.
“[Parallel slalom] is totally different to other events, I’m really fighting, really pushing. It was a little bit too much and I had some mistakes and I could see her next to me just ahead going faster and faster and I thought, ‘Oh no, you’re giving it away.’
“But it’s such a cool event and it’s not over until the finish. You have to be pushing so hard and that’s what makes it exciting.”
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s tweets have triggered an angry backlash for the second time in less than a month.
Dorsey posted a series of tweets over the weekend about a recent visit to Myanmar,calling it “an absolutely beautiful country.”
“The people are full of joy and the food is amazing,” he added, after detailing his experience in a 10-day “Vipassana” retreat, a type of silent meditation popular in many parts of Asia.
Dorsey’s comments sparked a backlash on Twitter (TWTR), with many users criticizing him for ignoring Myanmar’s treatment of its Rohingya ethnic minority. A United Nations fact-finding mission recently accused Myanmar’s military of pursuing a campaign of “genocide” against the Muslim minoritysince August 2017.
Dorsey also found himself in hot water in India in November — shortly before his Myanmar trip — for posing with a poster that many users considered offensive to a Hindu caste.
Twitter users slammed Dorsey for ignoring the violence against the group, much of which many activists say has been fueled by social media. Anti-Muslim posts on Facebook (FB), a far more popular medium than Twitter in Myanmar, have been linked to at least three violent incidents and widespread fear in the country.
Facebook says it has “invested significantly in technology and local language expertise” after the UN accused it of “substantively” contributing to anti-Rohingya rhetoric.
Myanmar has seen a sharp increase in internet and social media users in recent years, as mobile data prices have dropped sharply.
The Twitter CEO has not publicly addressed the backlash, but said Saturday that he would “track responses” to his posts. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment.
Twitter expressed “regret” over last month’s incident in India, and the company’s legal and public policy chief Vijaya Gadde apologized individually to several users.
Just 16 years ago, Kendra Scott was stringing beads together out of the spare bedroom of her Texas home. She had $500 and a dream to make more affordable high-quality jewelry.
Now her namesake jewelry line is a billion-dollar brand, with 95 stores across the United States. For the second year in a row, Forbes named Scott one of America’s richest self-made women. She ranks higher than Beyoncé Knowles and Taylor Swift. Her fortune comes from her majority stake in the company, valued by investors at more than $1 billion.
“There were so many ups and downs through this journey. There were many times that I thought I was going to lose my business. I had no investment capital. I was carrying it all on my shoulders. Bootstrapping it literally,” Scott tells CNN’s Poppy Harlow in a recent episode of Boss Files.
Scott did not bring her first investor on until 2013, more than 10 years after starting the company.
“I would have loved an angel to step in maybe around 2008, during the recession. We kind of did what we had to do to survive. We were a very lean team of seven,” Scott says.
That small team of women is still with the company today. Scott calls the group “the super seven.”
“We’ve just grown, and we’ve struggled together,” says Scott. “When things were going great, we celebrated together. When things were going hard, we held hands and said, ‘What do we have to do today to get over this hump?'”
Scott’s mother was the first to join the company and is the heart of the super seven. “We call her Mama Janet,”she says. “I shipped my first big order out of my dining room with my mom helping me. We were just trying to make it. We were faking it till we made it.”
Scott remains focused on building a company that helps cultivate women leaders. Of the company’s 2,000 employees, more than 95% are women, working on everything from product design to sales to distribution.
“I think when women join forces, when they hold hands, they’re unstoppable. I can attest to that,” she says. “I’m living in this Utopia at Kendra Scott where we are women-owned, we’re women-operated, but then you go outside of that and you see some of the reality of what’s happening in other corporations, and honestly, it is disappointing.”
The 44-year-old CEO says she is constantly assessing the benefits she offers employees — from salaried C-suite executives to hourly distribution center workers.
“If you can keep and retain wonderful, valuable employees, that’s smart business,” Scott tells Harlow. “I want everyone to know how much they are valued and appreciated. It’s not just about wage at Kendra Scott. It’s about all the other benefits that we’re creating, too.”
“I look at our company, and I walk in the doors, and I see children in our offices and I see moms being able to have a great career and be there and present for their families,” she says. “That’s what I’m so proud of.”
She’s also made giving back part of her mission. Through Kendra Cares, a program that allows patients and caregivers at pediatric hospitals to design their own jewelry for free. The company has donated more than $4 million to local and national causes, and this year has set a goal of $5 million.
One thing worrying Scott these days are the tariffs being imposed by the Trump administration. Scott’s company acquires gems from places like India and China. She says the company has already started to feel the impact of the tariffs and is most concerned about how they will affect consumers.
“You have to look at how this is really going to affect a business long-term,” Scott says. “I’m competing, not just with jewelry designers in the United States, I’m competing with jewelry designers all over the world. So when we are hit with these strong tariffs, can we still be competitive?”
Still, Scott is looking for ways to expand her business.All of her stores offer Color Bars, where customers can customize their own jewelry.
“It’s about creating a unique experience. Everything we do is about our customer. All I care about is what she wants,” Scott says.
The brand also now offers home decor, candle making and decorative boxes and trays.
But she isn’t planning on taking the company public anytime soon.
“I love being a private company,” Scott tells Harlow. “I don’t ever want to be forced to not do the things I need to do to keep this company moving in the right direction because I need to make a quarterly result.”
The current guidelines for genetic testing of breast cancer patients limit the number of women who can get tested. Because of these restrictions, these tests miss as many patients with hereditary cancers as they find, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
“Unfortunately, insurance companies pay attention to these guidelines,” said Dr. Peter Beitsch, co-author of the study and a cancer surgeon practicing in Texas. Insurance companies and other payers reimburse genetic testing — or not — based on the guidelines.
The result: Patients without genetic test results might not receive the appropriate treatment for their cancer, which could be a matter of life or death.
Approximately 330,000 patients are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the United States and of these cases, an estimated 10% are likely due to hereditary causes, according to Beitsch.
The guidelines are two decades old
The guidelines for the genetic testing of breast cancer patients were established about 20 years ago by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a nonprofit alliance of 28 cancer centers dedicated to improving patient care, explained Beitsch, who is a co-founder of the TME Breast Care Network, a nonprofit focused exclusively on advancing treatment for breast cancer patients.
“Back then we tested for two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA 2,” said Beitsch. BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 are tumor suppressor genes that everyone has; if a defect or mutation occurs in one or both of these genes, the likelihood of breast cancer is increased.“Genetic testing was incredibly difficult to do and expensive; it cost about $5,000 to just test the two genes,” he explained. The guidelines, then, “originated really as an economic roadblock to try to decrease the overall cost of health care in America,” he said.
Since then it has become known that 11 “major” gene mutations, including BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, can cause breast cancer, while 25 or 30 other genetic variants are also linked to the disease, said Beitsch.
Meanwhile, genetic testing “radically changed. It went from a difficult-to-do, and expensive, test to a quite inexpensive test,” said Beitsch. “The cost dropped from, say, $5,000 for two genes to now we’re doing 80 genes for about $250.”
While the guidelines also evolved, they “got incredibly complicated,” he said: “unusable.”
So Beitsch and his colleagues set up a study to look at nearly a thousand female breast cancer patients, half who met the criteria set forth in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines, the other half who did not. Among 959 study participants, all underwent a full panel of DNA testing for hereditary breast cancer.
The results showed that 83 women or 8.65% of the total participants, had breast cancer-linked genetic defects. Of these, 45 women met the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s criteria for testing, while 38 women did not. Ordinarily, then, these 38 women would not have been tested.
Genetic testing may be a matter of life or death
Many women who have breast cancer do not meet the criteria under the current National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines, said Beitsch, and this affects their treatment and, potentially, their survival.
Dr. Otis Brawley, a professor in the department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine, explained that when a patient with a BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation is diagnosed, “We treat them differently from a person with no known mutation.” For example, surgical decisions and the use of chemotherapy might be based on whether a woman has a genetic mutation.
“Over the past 20 years we are learning of a number of genes that can have a mutation. Some change our treatment,” said Brawley, who was not involved in the new study.
Genetic testing, then, is not only important to a patient’s survival, Beitsch said, “but also for her family members as well.” Carrying the same genetic mutation, a female relative may be at increased risk for breast cancer, while male relatives may be at increased risk for prostate and other cancers.
Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, interim chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said that “it’s a misconception that men cannot be impacted by BRCA genes and it’s a misconception that they cannot pass them onto their children.”
“There’s no question we don’t test the people we know should be tested,” including some patients with a “family history that has cancer written all over it. Unfortunately, too many professionals don’t pay attention,” said Lichtenfeld, who did not contribute to the new research. One study, for example, suggests that fewer than one in five people who meet National Cancer Comprehensive Network criteria and have a history of breast cancer have actually undergone genetic testing.
“Then there’s the group of people without a family history who want to get tested,” he said.
Will we all be routinely tested in the future?
A 2016 survey suggests that more than half — 56% — of American adults would be interested in taking a genetic test that indicated the likelihood of their developing cancer. The 30 to 64 age group had the highest proportion of willingpeople: 63% said they’d take a cancer predicting genetic test.
Despite public interest and increasing knowledge of potential causes of cancer, insurance plans do not routinely cover the expense of medical genetic testing, said Lichtenfeld. And barriers exist even for those who most need to know the results of such tests, such as some women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, he said: “Once [a woman] is diagnosed, unless she has a family history, a lot of payers, including Medicare, will not pay for the test.”
Some patients pay for the testing on their own, but this is not possible for all patients. And some patients may be unaware of the need for medical genetic tests because the guidelines do not recommend they get it.
Since genetic tests are now relatively inexpensive, the reason for creating an “economic roadblock” no longer exists, Beitsch said, and so the guidelines should “be wiped.”
“The guidelines really don’t help — in fact, they hurt, they injure, they keep people who could benefit from genetic testing from getting it,” said Beitsch, who hopes the National Comprehensive Cancer Network will recognize his study “and take heed of it and hopefully change the guidelines.”
Lichtenfeld said cancer centers “are finding many more people who have a hereditary basis for their cancer than would have been suspected based on our previous knowledge.” Since the human genome was first sequenced in 2003, scientists have become increasingly adept at reading the mysterious code and what “we don’t understand today, we will understand tomorrow or next year or in the next decade,” said Lichtenfeld. He believes that soon, genetic testing will be routine for newborns.
Based on his new research, Beitsch cherishes a more modest hope that at the very least all breast cancer patients will be offered and reimbursed for genetic testing, and perhaps, the same for all cancer patients.
“We’re heading toward a time when all people are tested,” he said. “Mary-Claire King, who discovered the BRCA 1 and 2 genes, has called for that.”
Ordinarily, you won’t hear a lot of comedians crediting Jesus for getting them into comedy. Of course, there’s very little that’s ordinary about Yvonne Orji.
The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, she entered the Miss Nigeria in America pageant as a young woman, unaware there would be a talent portion of the competition. Partly, that’s because as a self-admitted tomboy, she didn’t watch a lot of pageants.
“I was raised in a Nigerian household,” Orji recalls. “We just don’t sit around having talents. Our talent is getting straight A’s, that’s what my talent is. They were like, anyone who competes needs to have one, so I found myself stuck because I already bought the dress. I was really geared to win.”
A devout Christian, Orji says she prayed on it and actually got an answer. The Holy Spirit, she says, told her to perform comedy.
“I said, ‘No, you meant me? Where did that come from? Try again, it’s me, Yvonne, your other daughter, how many do you have?'” she remembers asking God.
But Orji listened. Her performance was a hit and she was quickly hooked on comedy.
At the time, she was pursuing her master’s degree in public health, and her parents wanted her to become a doctor — not a “jester,” as her mother called comedians.
She decided she’d stall and signed up to volunteer in Liberia.
“It was easier to go work in a war-torn country than just confess and tell my parents I’m not going to do medicine. I don’t even like blood. I was like ‘No, take me to the war,'” she remembers.
That only bought her so much time. Eventually, Orji surrendered to her passion, despite the fact that stand-up comedy still scares her.
“Stand-up is the thing that I know God wants me to do, but we want to do the safe thing,” she said.
Comedy may not have been the safe bet, but it turned out to be a good one.
Orji’s animated and hilarious stand-up work led to a starring role as creator Issa Rae’s best friend, Molly, on HBO’s “Insecure.”
“I have the opportunity to have this phenomenal human being that I get to portray and I get to tap into,” Orji says of her brilliant but romantically challenged character. “Every time I meet the real life Molly, it’s like thank you for being so messy, I appreciate you for just figuring life out because now I get to figure life out through your mistakes.”
For all those “Insecure” viewers waiting on Molly to figure out love, Orji is too.
“I don’t need a whole season of happy Molly, but two, three episodes,” Orji recalls telling the show’s writers. “They in no uncertain terms told me that’ll never happen, because if Molly’s happy, then the show ends. I was like, really?”
Orji, however, radiates happiness. She says she feels fortunate to be living a dream that once seemed crazy and out of reach to a young Nigerian-American woman.
“I think we need comedy now more than ever, because there is just so much hatred. It’s not even division, it’s just actually hate,” Orji says about the political climate in America. “We need conversations that are real and honest and hopeful and hope filled, and I think we need comedy that’s bred in peace and in love to really kind of pierce through some of this hate.”
Nick Ayers, the leading candidate to replace John Kelly as President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, announced Sunday he will not be taking the job, reviving discussions about who will succeed the retired Marine general when he leaves at the end of the month.
Ayers, who has served as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff for more than a year, turned down the position because he could not agree to terms with the President, a White House official told CNN.
Trump pushed Ayers to commit to two years, but he declined. He has young children, he told the President, and wants to move back to his home state of Georgia. He offered to become chief of staff temporarily, but Trump was firm on a two-year commitment, and talks fell apart.
There was also a significant resistance inside the West Wing to Ayers becoming chief of staff, two sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN. Ayers, who considered the top contender to succeed Kelly for at least six months, will leave his position as Pence’s chief of staff at the end of the year to run the super PAC set up to assist the President’s re-election campaign.
“Thank you @realDonaldTrump, @VP, and my great colleagues for the honor to serve our Nation at The White House. I will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the #MAGA team to advance the cause. #Georgia,” Ayers wrote in a tweet Sunday afternoon.
Pence thanked Ayers for his work as his chief of staff in a tweet on Sunday, writing “@nick_ayers has done an outstanding job as my Chief of Staff and I will always be grateful for his friendship, dedication to the @VP team and his efforts to advance the @POTUS agenda. Thank you Nick! Karen and I wish you, Jamie and the kids every blessing in the years ahead.”
Ayers’ decision not to take the job came as a surprise since he had been lobbying for the position, the sources said. There was resistance to him being appointed from first lady Melania Trump and some senior staff, the sources said.
Trump told reporters Saturday that Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general and Trump’s previous secretary of homeland security, will leave at the end of year.
“I appreciate his service very much,” Trump said.
Kelly’s status had become endangered in recent months as his relationship with the President deteriorated. He was not on speaking terms with Trump in recent days, two officials told CNN, and their relationship was no longer seen as tenable. CNN reported Friday that Kelly was expected to announce his departure in the coming days.
Now there is an open question inside the West Wing over who will succeed Kelly. Trump is considering four people, multiple sources told CNN.
Trump tweeted Sunday that he would be making a decision soon on who he would ask to fill the position.
“I am in the process of interviewing some really great people for the position of White House Chief of Staff. Fake News has been saying with certainty it was Nick Ayers, a spectacular person who will always be with our #MAGA agenda. I will be making a decision soon!”
One name being floated is Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. White House senior staff asked outside advisers on Sunday what they think of Meadows for chief of staff, a source familiar with the matter said. Meadows speaks with Trump often.
Another person familiar with the matter said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is a possible choice and would likely accept if asked, but there are some complicating factors — like Trump’s irritation with the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, and frustration over the economy — that could count him out. Mnuchin is also not seen as being politically adept as some other candidates who have held elective office, which was Kelly’s main fault in Trump’s view.
A person familiar with the Treasury secretary’s thinking tells CNN that Mnuchin feels very strongly that he can best serve Trump in his current role as top finance chief with a portfolio that includes top administration priorities. The source says that Mnuchin has never pursued this job or has ever considered himself for the role.
There has been some support for him to be the President’s chief of staff among Trump family members, who trust Mnuchin’s loyalty as one of Trump’s longest and closest trusted advisers, says the source. They think Mnuchin both understands the President and would work in his best interests.
Even so, the source says Mnuchin feels he can best serve the President in his current job at Treasury Secretary.
This source also brushes off criticisms that Trump is unhappy with Mnuchin over the economy’s performance, saying the two men have only had positive conversations over the country’s upswing in growth.
Another name frequently on a list of potential candidates is White House budget director Mick Mulvaney. A source close to Mulvaney says that while his name keeps coming up for the position, he remains uninterested in it.
“He is happy where he is,” the source said, adding that Mulvaney is not “angling” for the chief of staff job nor has the President asked him to take the position.
A source familiar with the discussions tells CNN that Pence has started to have conversations with close aides about who will be his next chief of staff.
One name that has arisen in conversation is his long-term adviser Marty Obst, who is still based in Indiana because he works in the private sector, but travels to Washington often and is frequently at the White House, according to the source.
Obst traveled with Pence to Indiana on Friday afternoon after being in Washington that day, according to the source.
France beleaguered president, Emmanuel Macron, will address the nation later Monday amid widespread protests that over the past four weeks have morphed from a grassroots movement against fuel tax hikes, to disparate demonstrations against his presidency.
On Monday morning, as Macron met trade unions and business leaders ahead of tonight’s much-anticipated national address, French students took further action.
There were disruptions in up to 120 schools across the country — including 40 schools completely blockaded by students — a spokeswoman for the Education Ministry said.
The students were demonstrating against the government’s recent education reforms, including changes to university admissions, which they say will be more selective.
Macron is expected to call for national unity this evening in the wake of “gilets jaunes” — or “yellow vests” — protests that saw 1,709 people held in custody following the most recent weekend of demonstrations.
Protests numbers fall, political cost rises
This weekend’s protests were smaller than in previous weeks. But they also saw more people taken into custody than in all three previous weekends combined, according to the Interior Ministry.
Overall, the weekend’s protests, which stretched as far and wide as the southern cities of Marseille and Toulouse, brought out 136,000 people across the country, the ministry added.
The protests paralyzed Paris, with landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower closed to the public and some metro stations shut. Sporting events across the country were called off.
In response, around 8,000 police were put on the streets of Paris and tens of thousands more deployed across the country. Officers fired rubber bullets and hundreds of canisters of tear gas at the demonstrators, some of whom set vehicles on fire.
A ‘catastrophe’ for French economy
The French retail sector has suffered a loss in revenue of about $1.1 billion since the beginning of the yellow vest protests last month, according to Sophie Amoros, a spokeswoman for the French retail federation.
On Sunday, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire went as far as to say the unrest was creating a “catastrophe” for the French economy.
The protests, named after the yellow high-visibility jackets French motorists must carry in their vehicles, began as a small movement in rural France against a new eco-tax on fuel that demonstrators felt would push their budgets over the edge.
In response, Macron was forced to suspend the tax hike, which had been due to come into effect on January 1.
Despite Macron’s concession, the movement has since expanded into a protest of many colors — from people demonstrating against unsafe housing conditions, to students unhappy with education reforms, and anti-immigration campaigners.